Can you imagine anyone not liking Christmas? Yet, people close to me hate it! I don't mean they detest the birth of the Christ or anything like that. They just abhor the mania associated with it.
The kid in me loves it. Ever since I crawled under the bed on Christmas eve to see if Santa actually came, I have been agog with the wonder of it all, and I still am. So it takes an extra twist of reflection for me to try to understand this antipathy.
Is it the commercialism, the Christmas "rush"? Partly. Is it the hectic pace in the church — the partying, the programming, the re-creation of the big event in ever more exciting fantasia? I admit the infant Jesus can get lost in the staging. Is it the fact that many people experience the loss and remembrance of loved ones in death around Yuletide? No doubt about it. Christmas touches the family far more than Easter does.
Now I've got a theory that likely doesn't make sense to anyone else. Christmas, centered around the birth of the Savior, touches on the virginal springs of our being. It is going back to the center from which we have sprung. Some primeval consciousness is released, far more than family memories evoke. Awakened is an admixture of the dark and fearful as well as of joy and holy serenity.
Not least for me, this is the reawakening of childhood. The poet Walter De La Mare put it well. "Childhood is the name of the world's immediate future: of such, and such alone, is the promise of the kingdom of man."
Lest we get lost in a mystic spin, let's hear it from Mother Teresa: "I am sure you will understand beautifully everything if you would only 'become' a little child in God's hands."